The City of Carcassonne is the most impressive of all the Cathar castles in the Languedoc region of south-west France, and is within easy reach of the gîtes here at Mas de La Prade.

 The City of Carcassonne in the Languedoc region

The City of Carcassonne, only twenty minutes from our gîtes at Mas de La Prade, in the heart of the Languedoc region of south-west France, is one of the most outstanding examples of a fortified town, and undoubtedly the most famous of all the Cathar strongholds.  It was recognised as such in 1997 when it was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 A street in Carcassonne in the Languedoc region

 

The history of Carcassonne has been a turbulent one, with various occupying powers including the Romans, Visigoths, Saracens, and most notably the Cathars.  The name Carcassonne is attributed to a Madame Carcas and the jubilant ringing of bells in her honour - Carcas sonne, after she successfully foiled a siege against Carcassonne and its inhabitants.

 
 A restaurant in Carcassonne in the Languedoc region


The City of Carcassonne has much to offer its visitors.  Its narrow cobbled streets are filled with colourful restaurants and shops.  For children, there are its ramparts and towers to climb, and for a truly
authentic feel for the history of Carcassonne, an opportunity to watch one of the jousting tournaments held during the month of August.  For their parents the 'Festival de Carcassonne' runs throughout the month of July and offers a large variety of theatre, dance, opera and concerts.  For those who are lucky enough to be there on Bastille day, the City of Carcassonne puts on one of the best fireworks displays in the whole of France.